Vines Gone Rogue & Medical Insurance

Yesterday evening, oh about 6 p.m., I was out watering, and my eye drifted to the Rose Of Sharon bush/tree. More passion and morning glory vines. I put my hose down. 

I ended up following the trail of ropy vines into the branches and once I was virtually in the middle of the thing, I saw that the vines were more than rampant. They'd gone positively rogue. 

Then I saw what some of you had told me about the vines strangling the tree. They had a death grip around some of the branches. So I started pulling them out. And pulling. I thought it would never end. 

I stood out there and pulled as long as I could stand up. What I ended up with was a humongous pile of vines.

How could something so beautiful manage to do so much damage?

The heat did nothing to discourage the vines. They had gone all the way up the tree and were reaching toward the heavens. I envisioned them wrapped around the electrical lines before I knew it. Now I understand about invasive vines. 

I started out last year with a two little pots of passion vine. I have been in awe of their beauty all summer. Taking photos of their gorgeous blooms.

And all the time they were on a murderous rampage.

I wasn't out there more than thirty minutes. But I realized I was shaking. And it was hard to get my breath. Asthma, I figured. Now where was my inhaler? I use it so infrequently I misplace it. (The one I ended up finding, the prescription had run out in 2004. But it was all I had. I couldn't find the others.)

I got myself and the pupsters inside and into the air conditioning. I drank water. How could thirty minutes of garden work do this to me? I always had so much energy and endurance. 

Last year with the double ankle break, fourteen months ago, has left me weak. I can't walk long enough to lose weight or build up my strength. I do yoga stretching and build up a sweat twice per day. But it isn't enough.

I am discouraged by this inability to gain back my former strength. I live alone. I am the only one here to get stuff done. I enjoy garden work, whether it's planting, weeding, or working. 

And I positively hate feeling like this. Am I ever going to be 100%?

Well, I told myself, maybe not. And I will just have to accept that. I still have to prove to myself I can walk around the block. But I'm not even going to attempt to try it in this humid heat. And maybe I'm just not quite there yet. 

I remember a phrase my grandmothers use to use. Weak as a kitten. I don't know why it isn't puppies. But it was always a kitten. 

We have to learn to find a new normal sometimes. Whether it's aging, which I'm no spring chicken, or accepting limitations. There's always someone far worse off than we are. And it's humbling, yes. To find yourself unable to do what you once could do so easily. But it is what it is.

I have finally managed to get some health insurance. It began August 1. It is for low-income self-employed individuals. It was going to go away at the end of the year, due to a problem of politicians not being able to agree on policy, etc. But it's been given a one year reprieve. I guess that mess is another post altogether. 

So at least now I feel less afraid. When your generic medications are over $900 a month, and your income isn't enough to cover that, it's a scary situation. Now my generics are $5 each. One of them would be around $400 without the insurance. Isn't that crazy? 

Sometimes I think the whole world has gone crazy. Medical care should not be so hard to acquire. Yet I haven't been able to find one doctor to give me an appointment because I didn't have insurance. 

Doesn't matter if you have cash. They don't want to see you. Which means I had to stop taking my blood pressure meds because I couldn't get refills any longer.

So when it cools off a bit, I will make an appointment. I now have the ever magical card that gains me entry. I find it very hard to accept that this is what it has come to. 

But I am grateful for what I have. Because all of us are one bad accident or illness away from disaster. No matter how good your insurance is. 

{Update} I just found out that with new rules just mandated, I am no longer qualified for the health insurance I just got in August. I think I will get to keep it until the end of the year. Well, back to worrying I guess. I'm in good company. Maybe I will find something in October when they start rolling out the insurance programs to be implemented for 2014...

On another more positive note, you'll want to come back tomorrow and see what giveaway I am announcing. I will give you a hint. It involves things that go on tables...

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  1. I also have limitations with back/hip pain and knees that aren't what they used to be so I can no longer have a vegetable garden (unless it is in a pot on a table, ha). It is not easy to accept but what alternative do we have? I am thinking you might be able to do more gardening when the heat and humidity are less, that would knock anyone out! Good luck with the insurance, I wish this country would follow Canada's example and provide health coverage for everyone. No one should have to go broke or lose their home because of health insurance (or lack thereof).

  2. Brenda I have NO INCOME of any kind, I have NO INSURANCE, all I have right now is $300 and a credit card. That is it! You do have income. Be happy and Thankful you do. I am not able to work. Spent over 800 on medical bills the past 4 months. I cant go get my blood work drawn because I am sparing every cent now. I am applying for SSI. Take care. Best of luck.

  3. Brenda,
    So many things in life change, too many and most of the time it has nothing to do with what we did or didn't do. There are some things I known as a fact. One-you are an intelligent vibrant woman-Two-something will change for the better Three-always have hope and know we care about you!
    Sweet Hugs!

  4. I was so excited when I read that you had insurance. To end it when you just got it stinks. Don't feel bad about asking for help. I don't feel bad about my son being on assistance. The way the economy is many need help. I wish there was some way for you to get your meds. I know it scares me that we will loose our insurance I keep thinking of what meds I could do without. You hate to wish the time away but 65 has it's benefits....that is if that doesn't get taken away too. Let's hope and pray that something else will happen for you to get coverage and a doctor. isn't fair. (((((HUGS))) Stay out of that heat. It would do in just about anyone. Your strength will return .......maybe not totally but I do think it will get better. Think of all you have been through.

  5. Good Lord, I don't even know what to say.

    It just sucks all of it, hon, and I am feeling it keenly for you and understand the health changing and just want to give you a warm empathetic virtual hug - (((Brenda)))

    I am so sorry you are going through this - you are not alone, and prayers are the best line of defense to this insanity.

    Hang in there, you are strong.


  6. Interestingly enough, my brother and his succession of girlfriends and their children have never had a job and they have ALWAYS had health coverage. Glasses, counseling, operations, rehab, hospital stays...many, many times. This has been going on for 20+ years. I guess WA state has excellent welfare benefits. Obamacare is coming and guess what? They will still have health insurance and mine, which has already doubled over the last 5 years, will INCREASE even more. Those are the facts. I didn't have health insurance for a year and a half after my divorce and my doctor was more than happy to take cash for an regular visit. I'm really really tired of hearing the horror stories when my personal experience has been that the more I work the more the government takes.

    No...people shouldn't have to lose their house, or sell their car, but it happens and it always has. It has happened to me. I'm sorry for the rant, but I am working and I can barely make ends meet and they keep taking more and more money out of my check for taxes and its going to get worse.

    Brenda, I am sorry for your troubles. I have been where you are and as a single mother. I am still struggling while my ex has money to burn. The retirement I had was "his" so I will never be able to retire. I do have my sanity and family and friends. For that I am grateful.


    1. Please know that if you were married at least 10 years, you can draw from his Social Security when the time comes ...

  7. Don't worry, just pray and allow the Father to wrap his arms around you! I do hope you can build your strength up again! Dianntha

  8. We are on Medicare and our supplemental ins. is climbing sky's just horrible. When Mr. Bush helped us so much on prescription costs, we were so thrilled...meds that once were costing us a hundred or more now are 3 and 5 dollars. I am afraid with Obamacare, they will all go up again. Just a constant worry......

  9. Brenda -
    Sounds like you are weak from not being able to exercise. If you can just increase your exercise little by little each day your strength will grow. My Mom was very weak after her heart surgery and now she is better than 100% but she has rehab to thank for that. I bet you can find a rehab plan online to follow to help you.

    I don't have insurance. I haven't had any problem going to see a doctor...I just pay cash. I don't have any health problems...except I do need anti-depressants to keep me from getting down about things.

    A friend of mine got laid off from her job and she found a clinic here in Oklahoma that will see her and she found that the OU Medical School will fill her prescriptions. She has diabetes and must have her meds. She has been telling me to go there just for my simple check ups. She says its $10 for a visit. My doctor charges $75. I haven't gone yet...but seriously considering since it's time to get my prescription renewed.

    Are you any part American Indian? I think you just have to be 1/8 and you'll qualify to go to the Indian Clinic to get meds and be checked over. I have a friend that does that.

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  10. Gosh, I kept replying under the wrong area, sorry. Wow, I wish things were better for you health wise. I know what you mean about health insurance it's like trying to grab the brass ring, it's always just out of reach. I finally qualify for Medicare by virtue of reaching 65 next month. It's a wonder I was able to live that long, I think they secretly hope we won't so they don't have to give the insurance. Several health problems, emergency gall bladder removal, blood pressure and acid reflux have put me in over $15,000 in debt. It's crazy that we live in the richest country there is and no health insurance, just disgusting. Two of my problems, blood pressure and acid reflux should be resolved if I lost weight so I'm finally on the track for doing that. I found a great free site called My Fitness Pal, if you have a smart phone it will even scan bar codes and download your calories right to the site. Been on it for one week and lost 6 pds so far. No exercise just counting calories. Check it out if it sounds like something you would be interested in. Also I was thinking if you could get some sort of stationary bike you could do that to help burn calories, only if it doesn't cause undo stress to previous injuries.Well, praying things go better for you insurance and health wise Brenda.

  11. Brenda, I just experienced your ghost! Typed a whole sentence that was right in front of me, computer flashed and it was gone! We are now haunted pals. Hoping it's just Casper.

    On annother note, wish I could figure out the health care nonsense in this country. Why do other countries have it so together....affordable, not demeaning, not elusive and exclusive,

    Hoping today is a better day.


  12. Wish I could offer some comforting words of wisdom...sorry.

    I can definitely relate! The older I get, the longer it takes to heal from any injury, doesn't matter how small or severe. I have no stamina anymore and it's frustrating. I threw my back out exercising (I love trying new things and this was a kickboxing video). It took months to recover! I've seen 90 year old women get around with less hobbling.

    Anyway, I'm so looking forward to your giveaway! Thank you.

  13. I was very ill several years ago, as a result very weak. I couldn't walk around the block either...and walking up steps was nearly impossible. So...I walked around my house, sat down when I couldn't anymore, then got up and walked some more. And I'd practice climbing stairs too....lifting books...anything I had to do to get stronger. Now, I'm not as strong as I used to be, but I'm getting there. If you don't use your muscles, they atrophy. It may take me longer to do things, but I can still do these things. Hang in there CAN walk around the block may just take longer. ;)

  14. There is a lot of misinformation going around about Obamacare. In the majority of cases health insurance will go down, and all insurance must have prescription benefits. You need to check into the health exchanges to see the tax credits, probably upfront in your case, that will pay for much of your insurance. As for the gardening, wait until it cools down a bit to tackle those vines. xo Laura

  15. I'll be very glad when the health exchanges come up next month. I've been without insurance and have had to put off the luxury of going to the doctor when I haven't had the cash. Lately, my pets have needed that cash.

  16. Brenda, you are doing it all wrong! You need to become a substance abuser. I live in a neighborhood full of them and they are treated like royalty. If you're are an average person with a few health problems forget it, you will struggle for the basics of life. I never used to be this bitter until I witnessed it firsthand. Good luck to you Brenda. I read your blog everyday.

  17. I feel for you! It is very hard to accept not being able to do all the things you could do so easily just a few years ago. My arthritis is becoming very severe, and is really starting to limit some of the things I always enjoyed doing -- like going up and down ladders and speed walking.

    Being old enough to get Medicare has been good, but the supplemental insurance is expensive and might go even higher -- who even knows yet? Some of the commenters do offer you some good suggestions, and I think you should look into any kind of assistance you can find. It does seem weird that some of the deadbeats seem to be able to get everything for free that others who have worked and paid their taxes all their lives can't catch a break.

    Keep us all posted.

  18. I remember my grandmother quoting her mother; "Oh, it's a grand life, if you don't weaken." That is my great grandmother who sailed from England to Canada with 4 young children in the steerage area of an ocean liner, pre-titanic. I guess she knew what she was talking about!

    Best wishes on your insurance woes!

  19. Man! You just can't win! I would get a physicles and other things done before you run out. Just to be on the safe side. At least you will know of any problems and hopefully, if any, get them taken care of. Best to get an appointment now as it will give you time to get some things under control. But that is just my opion. But I would like to see that you do this for peace of mind (yours and yes mine) Maybe by the time your insurance runs out you will be able to get another 3 months of meds to see you through a few months after insurance. Hopefully by then life will be better and some kind of insurance will be available to you. At least we can pray for it.
    Passion vines aren't very hardy here. With mulch ypu have a chance, but most people have to take them in for the winter. Yours sure are beautiful even if they are murderous. Guess they need to be pruned more there. I really enjoy your pictures. Keep them coming. I pray also that your strenth improves. It is never fun to be unable to do the things that we want to be able to do. You could be down, but seldom are. Not sure how IU would react if I were going through all that you have gone through. Your friend, Teresa

  20. So sorry about all your insurance problems. I can relate - can't take the heat either - have COPD and asthma. So I know exactly how you feel. Things I could do now I can't. Welcome to our "GOLDEN YEARS" lol.

  21. Brenda - I can appreciate you current disappointment, uncertainties that this brings! I cope with similar circumstances while managing MS, with new normals and limitations and the dredded insurance issues. Please feel free to contact me and I'd be happy to discuss possible options to get you some of your meds. Keep the faith, have that hope and He will indeed provide. I know that to be so true :) C

  22. Brenda - I know just how you feel. I'm getting old and the arthritis is bad but I just adapt. My mother is 88 and has always been strong as a horse. Now she can't do what she used to but finds it much harder to accept. Just reminded me because she's had the flu and she said today that she feels weak as a kitten.

    I hate to think of you struggling about health insurance. I really wish that you had the same programs we have here in Canada. So stressful to have to worry about getting medical help when you are ill. Being ill is bad enough without more stress. J

  23. Brenda I too have been shocked at my lack of endurance. Over here in Paris it is walking everywhere. I'm doing OK, but yesterday was on my feet for several hours at the Eiffel Tower and I was hurting last night! I don't have insurance and I worry also, hopefully something reasonably priced will come out soon. Take care!


  24. Hi, Brenda! I am doing a roundup of spring "eye candy" today, and you know I just HAD to feature you... Love, love, love your photography. The post will be live in a bit... hope you can stop by to see it. Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful talent with us... It's something I look forward to each day!



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